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Mics for documentary: lav and shotgun?

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Joe Martino
Mics for documentary: lav and shotgun?
on Feb 17, 2011 at 4:21:08 am

For documentary purposes we are looking for some mics. We would like to be able to use something like a lav mic for our interviews and possibly a shotgun for our outdoor shots. We are also working on somewhat of a limited budget. Would these two be ideal for what we want to achieve? And can anyone give advice as to what models are cost efficient but still a good bang for the buck? Will say budget of around $1000 new or used.

Thanks
Joe


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Eric Toline
Re: Mics for documentary: lav and shotgun?
on Feb 17, 2011 at 12:51:58 pm

Are you talking about a wireless lav mic system or just a lav that will be plugged into your camera? A decent wireless system for your needs would be the Sennheiser G3 for about $600, a shotgun mic like the Sennheiser ME66 will run about the same, perhaps a bit less. Then there's a boom pole, shock mount, wind cover for the mic, cables, etc so add another $5-700 and you're around $2000-$2500. Would renting the equipment be better for you?

Eric


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Joe Martino
Re: Mics for documentary: lav and shotgun?
on Feb 17, 2011 at 4:31:34 pm

Thanks for the reply! The type of wireless system we would like is a wireless one but the receiver doesn't have to be on camera as we will have access to power when we do those types of shots. I understand also that NON on camera receiver kits tend to run a lot cheaper as well.

The thing with renting is we do a lot of our shooting for this stuff at random times through months as things progress but sometimes it is like 7 days straight. The cost of renting usually gets up there very fast and the hassle of going there and back, possible late fees, availability etc is not something we wanna deal with all that much for the project.

Would JUST a shotgun for both settings be ok? Or would having both be good for each given setting? Any other options?

Thanks
Joe


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Eric Toline
Re: Mics for documentary: lav and shotgun?
on Feb 17, 2011 at 6:56:12 pm

The Sennheiser ME-66 kit will serve you well as it is a modular system with different capsules for different purposes. There's a great deal on the entire kit at http://www.bhphoto.com. The ME66/k6 with a K-tek pole, rycote softie wind screen, shock mount & cables for $825.

Eric


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Frank Nolan
Re: Mics for documentary: lav and shotgun?
on Feb 19, 2011 at 6:29:33 am

On top of Eric's suggestion for the shotgun I would look at just getting a wired lav, if it is for sit down interviews. You don't really need a wireless system unless you are on the move during the interview.



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Joe Martino
Re: Mics for documentary: lav and shotgun?
on Feb 20, 2011 at 8:02:35 pm

Hey guys, thanks for the suggestions. I have figured out some great set ups in the past day which will eliminate my need for a wireless setup on the lav.

The ME66 seems like a great mic from the research I did, more of a low - mid end PRO mic vs a high end consumer mic sort of thing. Actually was looking at a pair of them with k6 for about $400 so I might check those out. Any other ideas on a shotgun?

How about a wired lav? Say i spend anywhere between 200 and 400 for a wired lav. Any ideas?

Thanks guys!


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Eric Toline
Re: Mics for documentary: lav and shotgun?
on Feb 21, 2011 at 1:52:45 pm

For a good mid priced wired lav (with a 48v phantom adapter) check out Oscar Sound Tech Microphones. http://www.oscarsoundtech.com.


Eric


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Dave Haynie
Re: Mics for documentary: lav and shotgun?
on Mar 3, 2011 at 10:55:47 pm

If you have access to power, I'd strongly recommend the Line 6 XD-V30L or XD-V70L wireless lav systems. The big win here is that it's a digital ISM link. These are really an on-stage thing; they're not yet too on-camera friendly, but their technology blows away just about every other wireless mic at the moment. They also make cool guitars...

ISM means you don't need a licence. Which you do with systems like the Sennheiser G3 or most ubiquitous Shure systems... most users don't get them, but they are legally required for any television band radio, 300-600MHz. And the 700MHz units are now illegal... that spectrum, which used to be the top of the UHF TV band up to channel 69 or so, is now the 700MHz band that Verizon and AT&T bought for LTE cellular.

This is an all digital system. The quality of audio is higher, and you'll get a much more reliable audio link. And it probably costs less.

As for the shotgun... I'm really happy with my Rode NTG-1. I also own about 20 other mics for stage and audio recording, and the general rule is that more money will, at some point, make you happier. But it depends. When I do a serious audio project, I'm recording from up to a dozen mics at 24-bit/96kHz uncompressed.

When I shoot on-camera video, it's all compressed (digitally) by the camera. If you have a higher end camera, maybe it's recorded 16/48, but it's via the camera's mic preamps, which are at best not the main focus of that camera design. So you're going to hit a point of diminishing returns with an on-camera mic.

If you're spending a grand on two mics, hopefully have another $300-500 or so for a decent quality field recorder. And better still, an audio guy for the project.. at which point, you may not actually be looking for a shotgun mic anymore.

I'm also one for fail-safe shooting/recording. Even with that sound guy, I want a decent shotgun mic on the camera. I usually have an extra recorder or two going, if I'm in a fixed enough location (stage production, wedding) to allow one. Just in case something else goes wrong, I may have a 2-3 mics working that I don't expect to need. You want that for audio sync, anyway.

-Dave


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Walther Schiller
Re: Mics for documentary: lav and shotgun?
on Apr 7, 2015 at 11:16:16 am

Dear Dave,

you sound like a real specialist. I bought a Mark 3 with also an atomos Ninja-2 .

I am ordering a Beachtek DXA connect.

I will rent material for bigger projetc, but I would like to have a good sound to do documentary and journalism.

What would you advise ?


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